The Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College to roll back affirmative action in higher education is a very clear signal to the country: we are moving backwards.

Katherine Casey, chief strategy officer for Justice for Black Coloradans, outlines how this decision fails to recognize how history shows up in the lives of Black and Brown people today and ignores the fact that dismantling racism helps us all.

First: rolling back affirmative action in higher education will result in lower levels of enrollment, attainment, and lifelong earnings for students of color. Second: this is bad for everyone. Colorado already shows racial disparities in postsecondary education. To boil it down, racial equity in postsecondary access and attainment is essential for closing earning and wealth gaps. Closing these gaps absolutely matters to Black and Brown families. It also matters to any of us who want a vibrant economy and all that it brings: public resources, clear streets and safe, quality schools.

Colorado does things its own way. As a state, we have a track record of independent thought and action. To build a fair and equitable future, we can acknowledge racism or use race as part of the design for a better future.

According to legal scholars, the path to racially conscious anti-racism would start with a consolidated documentation of anti-Black or anti-Brown racism, here at home. Documentation would be used as the basis for policy recommendations and policy actions that are designed to right specific historical wrongs. We have already seen examples of this in action, both the publicly funded  Auraria campus free tuition program and the privately funded Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth.

Read the full opinion piece here.